For most of us, the hardest thing about eating healthy is trying to stave off those cravings for salty, crunchy snacks. Sure, we all know about healthy substitutions, but frankly a plateful of baby carrots just doesn’t cut it when you’re yearning for a bowlful of kettle chips or a vat full of cheese-filled pretzel nuggets.
Believe it or not, there’s a healthy alternative to your favorite sodium-charged packaged snacks, and it’s not only easy to make, it’s less expensive than those big cellophane bags of potato chips. The next time you need to appease your cravings, consider treating yourself to a hot, delicious handful of crunchy, flavorful roasted chickpeas.
Most of us are familiar with chickpeas thanks to their ubiquitous appearance in salad bars across the country, but these delicious legumes have been a dietary staple in the Middle East for thousands of years. Also known as garbanzo beans, they’re prized for their delicious nutty flavor, as well as their high protein content. For snacking purposes, they’re absolutely delicious when they’re roasted until crunchy, and they provide loads of proteins and fiber—plus, they’re low in fat.
Here’s a quick and easy recipe for roasted chickpeas:
• Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and place the rack in the middle.
• Drain and rinse two 12- to 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, then blot them with a paper towel until they’re dry.
• Put the chickpeas in a large bowl and add two or three teaspoons of olive oil, then season them to taste with salt, garlic, cayenne pepper or other favorite seasonings (see below for more ideas.) Toss well until coated.
• Spread the chickpeas on an un-greased baking sheet and put them in the oven for 15 minutes.
• Take the chickpeas out and flip them for even heating, then put them back in for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to check them often to make sure they don’t burn.
Before cooking, you can also add seasonings such as chili powder, pepper, curry powder, soy sauce, basil, lime juice, or rosemary. You can even create a sweet snack by adding honey, sugar, cinnamon, or nutmeg. As an alternative, celebrity chef Alton Brown recommends a dressing made of one tablespoon olive oil, one teaspoon Dijon mustard, and ¼ cup plus one teaspoon of red wine vinegar, which you can mix and drizzle on the chickpeas before cooking.
The next time you crave a crunchy snack, instead of imbibing empty calories with potato chips, try indulging yourself with this high-protein, high-fiber, low-fat treat that’s guilt-free, completely satisfying and, best of all, utterly delicious.